NORTH ONE EAST
Malton and Norton 17 - 40 Percy Park
Often a title of an article can tell the tale of a game in a few words. Words that can attract a reader to read on or can be enough for someone to acknowledge that Percy Park won the game and that ‘Man of the Match’ Charlie Greswold was influential in that victory. The use of the word ‘sizzling’ can also be used to attract the attention of the reader yet on this occasion the use of that adjective is more than justified as some of the Park scores had the crowd of their feet and even had one Malton supporter uttering the single word ‘Wow’…..and in that paragraph lies the question on everybody’s lips both from home and away support.. ‘What happened against Huddersfield?’ I guess we will never know the answer to that question but I for one am glad to put that result behind us for on this day we were good and on occasions very good!!
From the off the game exploded into life with a Park side looking to keep the ball alive and move the same with pace against a Malton side who loved to ‘pick and go’. Five minutes into the game Park turned over possession from the Malton pack and moved the ball along a back line; moving at real pace. With ball in hand full back Jamie Wrigley, finding himself on the wing, outstripped the Malton defence and when the covering tackle eventually arrived he made a sublime pass to the supporting Lome Faatau who in turn slipped the ball to Charlie Greswold to score under the posts. With Michael Grove converting Park were quickly into the groove and you could tell that Park had arrived at Old Malton Road with steely intent.
And they needed all that determination as Malton responded with a robust forward style of play and with ball in hand they had a very useful back line. Yet Park’s defence was excellent often disrupting the home sides possession and counterattacking with pace. The game was proving to be entertaining. A Seb Rees try saving tackle and loss of possession seemed to frustrate Malton and as they scrambled back to prevent Park progress into their 22 they were unable to stop a period of fine forward play from the visitors, who having drawn in the defence, allowed Phil Morse to kick ahead and Austin Phillips to pounce on the ball over the Malton line. On this occasion Grove was unable to convert.
All watching the game agreed that the next score could prove crucial in deciding the outcome of the game. To the relief of the Malton support they were next on the scoreboard with right wing Robert Armitage capitalising on some fine play from the Malton back line as they used their pacy South African fullback Zwelakhe Sodladla to ask questions of the Park defence. Malton were unable to convert but they were back in the game.
As the half was coming to an end Josh Lake was able to disrupt a Malton line out and Park were off. Malton were scrambling back to cover the fast moving ball to no avail as wing Seb Rees powered over and through the covering tackles to score in the corner. Grove was able to ‘rub salt in the wound’ by bouncing the conversion off the crossbar.
19-5 to Park at the turn.
As the rain began to fall the ball became greasy and both sides were guilty of handling errors, yet that did not distract from two sides wanting to play and move the ball around. At the half Malton had reorganised and regained their defensive shape and with the ball fizzing around in the middle Charlie Greswold was at the fore making some important tackles. With Park’s back row making a nuisance of themselves the game ebbed and flowed, then from nothing Park got the first score of the half. Eddie Saint was able to pounce on a loose ball from a tackle and with quick presentation, scrum half, Ollie Gilmour moved the ball to Michael Grove who kicked ahead beating the retreating Malton centres in the ensuing foot race to score. The try being converted.
Park were dominant and were on top of their opposite numbers in the scrum often winning Malton ball. With Malton not wanting to go to the set piece it was obvious they would have to try a different tactic and in their full back they do have a very good player. And it was to that player the Malton support looked and he didn’t disappoint with some penetrating runs that had the Park defence hanging on to his shirt. It was from one such move that Park found themselves deep in their 22 covering the Malton back line when a dummy runner appeared to cause a concertina effect in the Park defence opening up a yawning chasm for James Bulmer the Malton centre to cross the line to score. A score that was duly converted
And here is Park’s strength instead of debating the decision they got on with it. No histrionics, no back chat just positive encouraging comments and straight back into game and they needed that togetherness as Malton were enjoying a ‘purple patch’. The Malton 15 was proving to be ‘lethal’. With Park struggling to gain any meaningful possession it was no surprise when Zwelakhe Sodladla was under the posts to score. And here was where that home momentum was lost for some inexplicable reason the conversion was missed with the strike going underneath the posts. From hopeful high became a crushing low and the Malton support was rattled. With a further try saving tackle from Jamie Wrigley that mood seemed infiltrate the whole ground and after that it was all Park.
With Park on top in the set piece and with good possession Park were able to play the game in Malton’s half. With Grove having left the field to receive treatment Phil Morse stepped into the fly half position and with good possession he was able to orchestrate the Park backline to good effect. A majestic cross field kick found Jamie Wrigley out wide and having collected the ball was able to score under the posts. The further two points collected by Morse.
Parks final try came from the leaping Lome Faatau. Malton to their credit were trying to mount some response and attempting to move the ball out of their 22. One such move saw Percy Park’s coach spring into the air to intercept a pass and skip over the Malton line.
Final score 40-17 to Park.
This was a good win on the road for Park. There were fine performances all over the paddock. The North Shields outfit are working hard for each other. They are listening to their coach and visibly evolving and growing in confidence as they take on board their instructions and game plan. All bodes well and to quote prop Marc Cook ‘Now it’s time to sort out that home form’. That home defeat against Huddersfield still hurts and even though I am glad to put it behind us it is a very good sign for the Park faithful that team is not prepared to do so.